Opp’s Dixie Belles will leave Thursday for the 2012 Dixie Belles World Series in Powhatan, Va. | Photo courtesy of Eufaula Tribune

Working for wins

Published 12:01am Saturday, July 28, 2012

Coaches say one can never practice too much.

On a normal night at practice for Opp’s 13-to-15-year-old Dixie Belles, players don’t go home after the final whistle blows — they stay and work to get better.

That’s what the Dixie Belles state champions will take with them — a hard work ethic — to the 2012 Dixie Belles World Series in Powhatan, Va., on Thursday.

“I think we’re ready,” Opp Dixie Belles coach Skip Spurlin said. “This group of girls have played together a long time. We’re not intimidated by the competition.

“We know there will be very, very good teams up there,” he said. “They’re itching to go.”

Opp will be up against state champions from Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida in the double elimination tournament, which will begin on Sat., Aug. 4.

Opp will face Dillon, S.C., at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday in its first game of the World Series. The championship is slated for 7 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 8.

Spurlin said the keys to success this coming week lie in three aspects of the game.

“We need to make sure we do the little things right and eliminate routine mistakes,” he said. “We’re going to need good pitching, which we’ve got.

“We play to try to confuse other defenses,” he said. “We like to put pressure on teams to make them make mistakes.”

Anna Harrelson, who pitches for Opp’s Dixie Belles, said all around, everybody has to play well.

“It’s what everybody says, defense wins the game,” Harrelson said. “But you’ve got to be able to hit. If you don’t hit, you’re not going to put runs on the board.

“You’ve got to have good pitching — if you walk everybody, you give them runs,” she said. “Really, you’ve got to be good all the way around.”

To help defray the cost of the World Series trip, Spurlin said the team will hold a car wash today from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Southern Independent Bank in Opp. He said donations are encouraged and there is no set amount that needs to be given.

“Anything is greatly appreciated,” he said.

Additionally, Opp held a hit-a-thon last night to help with the costs as well.

The girls wanting to hold fundraisers are what makes them a great team, Spurlin said.

“We don’t mind taking donations, but we want these girls to work for it, too,” he said. “They’re all excited about that. That’s one good thing about this team. With their work ethic, you couldn’t ask for anything better. That’s probably what I’m most proud of these girls for.”

Harrelson said she thinks the team has a pretty good chance to win some games.

“We all get along,” she said. “I think we’ll have a pretty good chance, being as good as the teams are up there.”

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